Sunday, August 28, 2011


v is trying not to be too frustrated with the following: lack of access (both physically and digitally) to do what needs to be done, lack of keys, lack of codes, lack of unjittery nerves.

v is looking forward to: the evening of friday, september ninth; tomorrow at noon, the end of december.

v is thinking about letting go of what she cannot control and simply heading off to bed to get some rest and listen to some 'wait wait...don't tell me!'

v is finished writing about herself in third person. g'night all.

Friday, August 26, 2011

{this moment}

{inspiration: SouleMama}

baking soda! and other stuff

Okay, so this post will probably not be exclusively about good ol' bicarbonate of soda, but it will play a starring role.

I've been working for a very long time on gradually making more things at home that I might once have purchased ready-made. This coincided with becoming a bit quietly tree-hugger-ish/crunchy/whatever. This started when Pic was really a wee one. I was thinking about all of the things we used that might end up harming her: toilet cleaners, floor cleaners, surface cleaners, ecc.

A while after that, I also started thinking about the items that I use that might have a negative impact on my body and on the earth.

I started out very simply by stopping use of disposable cleaners (those toilet bowl scrubbers or whatever they were, disinfectant wipes, so on), plug-in air fresheners (we went through a weird phase of being somewhat obsessed with these...why?) and fabric softener sheets.

I switched from bottled window cleaners and surface cleaners to white vinegar and water solutions. Much later, I began adding baking soda in as a scrubbing agent. I switched us to "green" laundry detergent and dish detergent. I bought us some reusable bags (which I still forget to bring sometimes) and reusable water bottles. I started collecting canning jars and then buying glass storage containers for our food storage needs.

More recently, I've focused more on myself. 2009 seemed to be a year of change for me. I stopped using shampoo and I started using cloth pads. As for shampoo, I started using shampoo bars. In May of that year, I tried to go the no 'poo route (please note the placement of my apostrophe). The article I read indicated that it might take anywhere between two and eight weeks to adjust to that. I waited five before I got really tired of my hair being constantly greasy and gross and switched back to shampoo bars. At some point, I stopped worrying about buying specifically-marked shampoo bars and started using whatever bar of soap looked good to me.

I restarted my no 'poo affair in May of this year. I have a much better (for me) system now. I use one of Pic's old shampoo bottles (I still use Burt's Bees baby shampoo/body wash for her...when she deigns to bathe herself). I put some baking soda (really, this is how I measure...if I had to guess, I'd say I use about a tablespoon, maybe a bit more because I have a big head) in the bottle and then add warm water when I get in the shower (I don't enjoy mixing it beforehand and having it waiting because then it's too cold). I shake up the bottle, turn off the water and squirt the solution over my scalp. I rub the solution onto my head for a good while and let it sit until I'm finished washing and rinsing the rest of my body. After my shower, and after I get the excess water out of my hair, I spray an apple cider vinegar and water mixture onto my head in nice big puffs. (I tried using straight apple cider vinegar, but I'm pretty sure that ruined two spray bottles. Either that, or I bought really cheap bottles. Now, I use about two parts vinegar to one part water.) Then, I comb my hair and think about doing something with it. And, seriously, for the first time I can remember, I can wait a day (or maybe even two!) before I wash my hair again. This, coming from a person who used to sometimes use industrial cleaner on my hair. (Oy with the poodles. I really do try to block that out.) This, coming from a person who used to wash her hair twice a day because it was so greasy.

As for my cloth pads: I love them. I know the very idea freaks some people out, but, well, obviously not me. I bought twelve pads from an etsy shop two years ago and have been very happy with them ever since. I would like to have some cloth pantyliners also, but I keep telling myself I'll learn to sew and I'll make those myself. Recently, I bought a Diva Cup. I was very nervous about using it, but it worked for me. Seriously, though, for either of these, you have to not be squeamish about what your own body produces (and then rejects when it realizes there's nothing growing in your uterus). (Oh, and there're instructions for "women's cloth" in Handmade Home if you're interested in making your own.)

Last May, I also started using baking soda to wash my face. I keep a little jar of it in the shower and a jar of it on my bathroom counter. I just pour a little in my hand and add a teeny bit of water to form a paste and scrub that on. About a year ago, I started using witch hazel as an astringent, thanks to the recommendation of some friends. Recently, I started trying to use coconut oil on my face also, but I'm still undecided on whether that is doing any good. And, I can't use it during the day because, although it supposedly is absorbed into your skin in fifteen minutes, my skin refuses to absorb it in anything less than four thousand hours (or something).

This May, I also finally got around to making my own deodorant. I stopped using antiperspirant a little more than three years ago because I got all paranoid about its ingredients. I was mainly using Tom's of Maine's deodorant, sometimes Trader Joe's. However, with both, I still had to carry deodorant around with me because I was seriously stinky. The homemade deodorant? I freaking love. So much. Definitely. It is not antiperspirant, but I'm already used to my sweat. But, oh. my. gracious. I don't smell. The first few days I used the deodorant, I kept sniffing my underarms, constantly reminding myself of Otto.

A couple of notes on this deodorant: while I didn't smell unpleasant, I did smell chocolately; it's weird to smell chocolately from my underarms. Here's a big duh statement: have a short jar or container handy. I didn't have one the first time I made this and ended up putting it in a jar that was too tall for me to easily get to my deodorant. Pain in my butt. Cardo made his first deodorant recently and he poured the liquid into his old deodorant container and that's worked for him. I use two little jars now. I divide the liquid into the jars and keep one in the bathroom and one in the refrigerator until I need it. (My deodorant has tangerine essential oil and Cardo's has lavender essential oil.)

The deodorant has baking soda, among five other ingredients.

I also make our laundry detergent. It's been something close to two years since I started that. I am happy with the results. I would like, however, to make a small amount of liquid detergent for when I handwash (which, um, I kind of never get around to). I also occasionally make air freshener. I just started doing that because we already have the essential oils for the deodorant. I pour a bit of baking soda on a saucer and add a few drops of whichever essential oil (the lavender is stronger).

I also use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning just about everything in our home: toilets, counters, the oven. I occasionally get around to using vinegar as a fabric softener, but I can almost never remember to add it to the rinse cycle. I use vinegar and water to clean mirrors and the non-carpeted floors. Oh, I have also used baking soda on the carpet if it smells (sprinkle on before vacuuming).

So, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned baking soda about a lot of times here. (Oh, yeah, I've also used baking soda paste to soothe sunburn. And, I've used it to brush my teeth, although it tastes awful and I'm still not sure if I need fluoride so I haven't yet moved to making my own toothpaste.) So, yes, when Cardo asks if I really need that much baking soda, I do. I even use it to bake once in a while.

All of this seems like a lot, but really, I started making these changes almost seven years ago. I'm all about gradual change, letting myself ease into new things. And, there's so much more I'd like to do, so much more I'd like to make here and so many different ways I'd like to use less new and/or disposable stuff.

In my dreams, I cook and bake much more and I make our clothes (sometimes out of the clothes and other materials we already have on hand). Maybe I'll work on that over the next seven years.


A couple of notes: I have been meaning to post on some of this for quite some time, so I crammed it all here in one post because otherwise I'll never get to it. But, geez, this post is long and took me forever to slog through. Also, can you tell who does most of the cleaning around here? At some point, I hope to be able to replace a lot of those "I"s with "we"s.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

another bit, another bob

Earlier, I started to enter into my interweb address bar an address that starts with 'b' and my computer suggested that I might be looking for a baked doughnut recipe on 101 cookbooks. Thanks ever so. (It turns out that I saved that recipe so long ago that I don't even remember it now. Not worry, because someone does.)


I was sent an e-mail for a discount on language software. The discount? '-25%' What? So, I have to send them 125% of the price. What kind of deal is that? (I totally see how that's a deal for them. Not so much for me. I'll pass.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

bits and bobs

Apparently, given my 'when i learn to sew' board, if I knew how to sew, I'd dress much more femininly.


We've lived in our current home for one year and seven months. I just took the recycling bins out for the first time. (We usually let everything pile up in the garage until we stuff the car full and take it all to the recycling center.)


On our last trip to the grocery store, I had Cardo fill two very large bags of baking soda from the bulk section. "You need more?" he asked me skeptically. Yes, yes I do. It has myriad uses around our home. (More on that at some point.) When we got to the register, the cashier asked about the first bag, "This is baking soda, right?" When she got to the second bag, she asked, somewhat incredulously, "Another bag?" Yes, I like my baking soda.


[Oh, yeah, I'm still cross-posting these at my other pond, but it'll be a while yet before I get everything here moved over there.]

Monday, August 22, 2011

musical monday: 'this is the fresh prince's new definition of summer madness'

"Will Smith- Summertime (High Quality)"

I know it's still going to be warm for a while, but I still feel like summer is slipping away. It's still a month until autumnal equinox and another two until the cold, right? Why doesn't it feel like it?


Also, just read this post on the shift in the seasons and I'm right there, too.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

{this moment}

{inspiration: SouleMama}

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

on pinterest (and telephone gossip)

O, Pinterest, how I really am thoroughly enjoying you!

Some observations:

* I feel like I'm revealing so much more about myself through Pinterest, in such a cavalier* way (yes, I'm book-obsessed, which I know was obvious, but is now even more so; look at the sites I frequent most...frequently; you can definitely tell what fills my daydreams)

* I could spend something like a lifetime just pinning stuff

* Is it really okay to pin something from someone's site when they ask that you keep their words/images where they've been posted? Should I be asking permission of these other bloggers? Or, is this more like visual links that are clearly attributed?

* Why did it take me so long to realize that the site is posted on the pins for me, so I didn't have to keep typing in addresses (except for the etsy thing, wherein I still find that I like to post the name of the actual shop/seller)


* You should definitely look this word up; it has such a specific (archaic) meaning.


"Telephone Hour - Bye Bye Birdie (1995)"


"Musical Number: Bye Bye Birdie - Telephone Hour" of thirteen thousand other versions, no doubt.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

'that's fire, beats everything'

Pic has recently discovered Rock, Paper, Scissors. Right now, we just play it to play it. We don't yet use it as the challenge that leads to the winner earning some pre-selected prize. ("Rock, Paper, Scissors, Go!" "I win! Now, I get to sit here and ponder life's mysteries while you sweep the floor."*)

I just read this article on winning strategies for Rock, Paper, Scissors. (Seriously.) I didn't know, until I read it, that there is a world championship for the game. Wow. Best three...hundred out of 301?

I have yet to introduce Pic to the more eccentric possibilites in the game:

"Friends-1008: TOW The Late Thanksgiving (rock-paper-scissors)"


* Actually, I'm quite pleased to say that when I sweep the floor, Pic usually grabs her broom and helps out. And, yes, I just knocked on wood.

Monday, August 15, 2011

music monday: 'hanging out the passenger side of his best friend's ride'

A few weeks ago, just after a bit of rain, we went out for one of our walks and spotted the following on the back of a park sign:

It was so unexpected and lead to such a quick trip back in time*.

"No Scrubs -TLC"

Please, though, why is it that I don't remember the rap finish to this song?

All right, I'm off to listen to more TLC. (Go, go Jason Waterfalls, anyone?)


* I was going to say "Memory Lane," but that was too trite. I was trying to come up with a better "street" name. Ah, well. No doubt I'll obsess about it for a while and come up with something or other.


P.S. The bit of a line I have in the title still, still runs through my head at times for seemingly no reason at all. Brains are weird. They so definitely belong in the Department of Mysteries.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

news about an old move

Okay, so a bit back, I moved. No, I don't mean that we once again have a new physical address. This is a virtual move.

I've recently begun exploring and getting comfy(ish) in a couple of other tangles of this web: stagno per anitre and Pinterest.

At about the time I started trying to play around with the format here, I finally got up the nerve to move the pond to another space. However, I've done barely a thing with that space. I was to spend a lot of my alone time today packing up here and unpacking over there, but my alone time was pushed until late this evening and it has, therefore, been greatly constricted. I'll not be making a big move today, but I think I'll start composing new posts at the TypePad blog.

I can't even remember at this point how long ago it was that I started asking about which blog platforms people preferred, but I am guessing it was well over a year. I made the decision to move, but, at the same time, I didn't see the point. I have something like one regular reader, so it's not like I'm moving due to audience demands. I kept thinking that I wouldn't move until I really started putting my bloggy self out there and started building a community, but I think the time has come. And, there we have it: I have a bit of time right now. Also, I still have that hankering to occupy new space in the ether.

I have a hankering to do a lot right now and I am starting to pile up the projects and reading and learning and commitments. At the same time, I'm striving to become a more calm, kind and accepting human being. And, I am working to expand my scope of experiences.

In all, I feel about on the verge of bursting out of my skin to see how brightly I'll let myself shine. (And, yes, I know that image can be somewhat hugely disturbing, but I am imagining it as such a positive thing.)

So, as I start to figure things out for myself, as I start foster some real personal growth, I'll slowly be moving from here. I don't feel I need a completely new start (else, I would not bother moving all that I have here), but I do feel that I want to try to figure out a new set of interwebby-bloggy-workings. I think my very own learning curve with this will be steep, but I am also feeling like I'll be up for the challenge here within the next couple of months.

For all who have TypePad experience and expertise, I would appreciate any feedback, help and/or advice.

Please, feel free to visit me at my TypePad incarnation of stagno per anitre.

Also, please feel free to check out what I'm pinning over on my Pinterest boards.

I have a the always-ab fab Poke to thank for the invite to the latter site. I have only just begun to turn my bookmarks folders into boards over there. I think you'll not be surprised that much of what I've covered thus far is books I'd like to read at some point in this lifetime. I'm basing my boards on labels I use here.

Right now, though, before I pin up anything else, I'm off to expand my mind in an again different direction.


O Dear and Mighty Interweb,

You have this intoxicating quality that lures me in and sucks me into the vortex that is you. You and Sleep don't even seem to belong in the same universe or plane of existence. Blogs! Articles! Music! Moving pictures! And, now, Pinterest!

O gracious, it's just a good thing you have yet to lure me with your games.

I'll continue to let you lead me adrift for another few (or many) minutes, but Sleep is not to be completely ignored and denied. She'll fight you on that.

Much exhausted yet devoted love,

happiness is...

A la Poke:

1. date night: g'bye Harry, Ron, Hermione, et al (I not-so-secretly still prefer the books, but I'm glad we got out to see the movie)
2. (other people's) babies
3. briefly seeing dearly beloved friends and their family
4. fabulous homeschool park day
5. Will Smith

Thursday, August 11, 2011

blog sprint: organization procrastination

One Minute Writer from Monday: What do you need to organize?

I definitely need to organize oh-so-many things in my life. Foremost: my thoughts. I am feeling too tired and scatterbrained to write much today, although I had a topic planned (perhaps I'll return later this evening).

I also need to organize the many, many piles of PAPER!!! stacked up around our home. Oh, with the papers already. (Yes, that was me screaming on the screen there.)

I would like to organize my whole bit of the bloggy universe. The pond is currently a mess and is a little split in two right now. I have been thinking about moving, but the thought of moving everything is just daunting.

Finally, for now, there's a great, big, gigantic, titanic cupboard of art and game stuff staring at me right this very moment. And, if I took two steps around the desk here and opened the doors of that cupboard, its contents would grab me and swallow me up. I only just got away the other day when I was trying to find the laminating stuff I bought years ago and used precisely twice. I'm ready to use it again, dang it, so where is it?

All right. That is all. That was more than one single minute.

Now, off! Ha, no organization today!

Ah, well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

wordless wednesday

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

a bit of lit: upcoming and outgoing [and a big fat DUH]

Today is the release date for The Rhythm of Family. I will be treating myself to this book at some point in the (I hope very near) future.


I have recently devoured Every Last One. I loved the detail, the every little vignette, simply created. The book could have been longer, I thought, to develop the story a bit more before we hit the climax, but now that I think about it, I think that has more to do with perspective than storyline. As in, we are only getting what we have access to through the point of view of the narrator. (Oh, this is one of those times I seriously miss my many, many lit classes. I need a book club.)

That book's going back to the library domani, but I have plenty more books on my to-read list.


Pic and I have just finished and restarted James and the Giant Peach. I can't read too much at once because some of the voices, especially Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, start to strain my throat. (However, it's all worth it when Pic's reading and "doing voices" also. I love that.)

I remember reading this book about a million times when I was in elementary school. I think those who were Pic's age a decade ago might have had some interesting conversations with their parents regarding the landing of the peach in New York: the characters experience a bomb scare. I wonder how teachers and parents handled this, or if they even did, ten years ago.

There's also a strange moment when Old-Green-Grasshopper is horrified by a crowd of Cloud-Men and cries that rather than hear about the creatures, he'd "...rather be fried alive and eaten by a Mexican!" That was just odd and rubbed me a bit wrong. Because Mexicans are scary cannibals? Or, they were? I know I notice this more because la mia famiglia* is half-Mexican. I'm guessing Dahl was just figuring that nationality sounded exotic.

Okay, I'm finished overthinking this because Cardo is waiting for me to come watch a movie with him. And, because I think I've thought about it enough.


* Yes, that's Italian, not Spanish. It's all superficially multicultural here in the pond tonight. ;)


Edited to add: Um, duh. Duh, duh, duh. I didn't stop thinking the line from the book and it's a good thing. Old-Green-Grasshopper. Old. Green. Grasshopper. As in, he's an insect, not a person. Yes, duh.

I just asked Cardo if people in Mexico eat grasshoppers and he said they do in some states. And, then he described how they are prepared.

I really need to turn off my hyper-over-sensitivity radar, methinks.


Last night -- or, rather, this morning -- I was having an especially difficult time falling asleep. (Big shock, I know.) The fan whooshed cool air over us while the cat roamed the condo and Pic had a conversation in her sleep. After I finally did manage to drift off, I dreamt of being stuck in my favorite neighborhood ever. Only, it wasn't a good thing. It was a dream full of weird, anxiety-inducing images and ideas that stifled my breath: a missing Cardo, downed trees, a cross mamma (me), freeways where they shouldn't be, cars that had no brakes.

I am blaming my current inability to sleep, along with my continually upset stomach, on my current reliance on acetaminophen. I have never taken so much in my life. And, I'm not even taking the maximum amount recommended/allowed. Yesterday, I figured I could go without, but by six in the evening, I was ready to scream in pain and frustration because my jaw hurts. I go back in to the dentist tomorrow and I'm going to see if they can just...get rid of it [my jaw]*, or something. (Okay, not really, because that'd be a whole different nightmare, but I despise taking medication, even of the most banal variety, but I also despise the pain. At the same time, I do realize that this pain is nothing compared to what many, many others experience in their lives, and, for that, I'm grateful. I'm grateful, but whiney.)


In the meantime, Pic is daydreaming about hook contraptions so she can fly around the living room, fully-costumed complete with wings and tapping shoes (as she calls high heels). She's dreaming about making sequels to the movies she enjoys. She's constantly entertaining me with dance performance after dance performance as I try to complete the Puzzle That Would Defeat Me.


* Whenever Pic is hurting somewhere I jokingly suggest we replace the body part, but she never takes me up on it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

musical monday: 'that's all they really want'

Pic has lately been watching a compilation of Chipmunks episodes that include the Chipettes. And, we seem to be hearing this Cyndi Lauper song, featured on that video and covered by the girls, pretty often lately.

"the chipettes: girls wanna have fun"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

open letter: a hairy situation

To the following: bus-riders and -drivers, library-patrons, park-goers, Bakehouse-people, swimmers, and, really, anyone who's seen me in my bermudas lately,

I have finally gotten around to shaving my legs. I hope I haven't made you too uncomfortable, as many people just don't seem to like seeing leg hair on women. As if it somehow isn't natural, which is really funny because it's more natural for me to have the hair than to not have it.

Anyhow, I'm pretty set for the summer, so get ready to once again soon be uncomfortable with my flagrantly hirsute gams.

Much love,

food bits

A few things I have recently learned about food (and what to call it):

I learned from an old episode of Stuff You Should Know that instead of adding oil to pasta water, one should add vinegar to keep the pasta from sticking to itself. As we all might be familiar with, oil and water just don't mix. I have only once or twice added oil to my pasta water because I always noticed that the oil pointlessly floated along the surface of the water. So, I'm glad this oil-and-pasta-water thing isn't a habit I have to free myself from. At the same time, I seriously doubt I'll start adding vinegar to my water because I've done just fine without it, thank you.

(I have no idea what episode of the podcast I was listening to and I can't even remember if it had anything to do with food.)

I learned from various sources (none of which I can now remember) that I can fill my freezer with so much more than I had been. A little more than a month ago, I cleared out my freezer, but I know that a full freezer is more efficient than an empty one. I'd eventually like to fill my freezer with homemade freezable foods, but I'm not quite at this point yet. So, what to do with all of that space? Flours, nuts, seeds, cornmeal.

Anything other freezer-worthy items I might have unfrozen? Please let me know.

Finally, I was reading One-Pot Cookies when I came across a wonderfully fitting and funny description of white "chocolate": sweet, vanilla-flavored fat. (I believe that's a direct quote, but I've returned the book to the library and I cannot check.) I can just imagine the menus now: And for dessert, we're offering a sweet-vanilla-flavored-fat and raspberry cheesecake. Mmm. Yum!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

dental adventures

I kind of hesitate to share my dental dismay, but it's what's going on with me right now...and for the next several weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, when I ended up only going in for a cleaning, I was told a root canal might be in order. That has almost been ruled out, but we'll see. So, yesterday was two fillings: replacing one old one and getting a new one. Next week will be more work on the upper right quadrant, the following week the lower left and the following week the lower right. At least I think that's the plan.

I ended up going with just Pic yesterday, as Cardo couldn't join us. (We didn't get lost on our bus trip!) She quietly sat in the corner, drawing pictures, using a clipboard given to her by one of the assistants. I sat quietly trying to not freak out on the reclined seat. It's not that easy, as I felt like I was suffocating what with hands and equipment in my mouth. I kept trying to close up my throat, but that made breathing through my nose very difficult.

When all was finished, I hadn't felt much pain, but I was still very shaky and on the verge of tears. The latter typical for me and visits to the dentist's office. However, five hours later, when my mouth was...unnumbing (there has to be a more elegant word for that, but I cannot think of anything right now), oh buddy, there was pain. My jaw still aches a bit, but my tooth hurts. Rather, I'm sure, my gum hurts. I'm finally putting to use the gigantic bottle of Tylenol we bought at Costco a million months ago.

It's going to take a lot of will power for me to continue going to the dentist as scheduled.

One more note: Let me just say, as I have repeated again and again, I'm so very grateful that we have insurance; that's something I definitely don't take for granted.

nearly wordless wednesday (a day late)

Please note the outfit (fancy dress, work gloves, snow boots). And, the size of the weeds. And, that what she's holding is a very small axe. Just another evening at La Casa B.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

happy, peaceful, painless thoughts...

...that's what I'll be needing domani. Work on the first quadrant of my mouth begins tomorrow. (So much for having that work done on the same day I went in two weeks ago.)

Oh, teeth. What can I say to you? Why didn't I take much better care of you when I was younger?

So, for now, I'm off to watch a bit of Chamber of Secrets with Cardo while Pic moves into her zillionth hour of playing today.

Happy, peaceful, painless thoughts will be very appreciated tomorrow. Thank you very much.